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20 Top Fundraising Tips for Startups: Our 2023 Guide to Securing Capital

20 Top Fundraising Tips for Startups: Our 2023 Guide to Securing Capital

Dr Thommie Burger is the Founder of JTB Consulting
20 Top Fundraising Tips for Startups - Our 2023 Guide to Securing Capital

Starting a business can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to securing funding and going through the fundraising process. Whether you’re seeking to raise capital from investors, secure a loan from a financial institution, or generate revenue through your operations, it’s crucial to have a solid plan in place.

20 of the Best Fundraising Tips - JTB Consulting Guide to Securing Startup Funding
20 of the Best Fundraising Tips – JTB Consulting Guide to Securing Startup Funding

Fundraising 101

Here are some Top Tips from JTB Consulting ― South Africa’s #1 Business Plan Company ― to help you navigate fundraising.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #1 ― Have a clear and concise business plan

A well-defined business plan is essential when seeking funding. It should include a comprehensive overview of your business model, target market, and financial projections. This will help you to communicate your vision to potential investors and demonstrate the viability of your business.

Business Plans of Perfection! Welcome to JTB Consulting’s 2023 guide to creating a winning business plan. This is our most comprehensive and free guide in 17 years.

A Business Plan Template will not help you on your business journey. On the contrary, a business planning template can do more harm than good.

Having a new business idea is great! But, without a business plan or a generic, cookie-cutter business planning template, a business is essentially rudderless, and day-to-day activities are likely to be haphazard and reactive. This is in stark contrast to those businesses implementing a well-thought-out business plan.

Unfortunately, several “business plan consultants” promise the world when they merely use a Generic Business Plan Template or Business Plan Software to generate an off-the-shelf document, which takes the consultant a couple of hours to complete. Now ask yourself: “Is this true value to you as an entrepreneur”? Your answer should be a resounding No!

So be careful when deciding which Business Plan Consultant to contract to complete your business plan. Unfortunately, several individuals operating in the South African market are out to make a quick buck with minimal effort! Do you want a Business Plan Template? You will pay for a Business Plan Template. Be careful, and remember that you get what you pay for. Don’t let a business plan template stop you from achieving your goals. Read more about our guidance about the dangers of business plan templates.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #2 ― Build a strong network

Networking is an important aspect of the fundraising process. Connect with other industry entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders for insight and advice. Attend events and join organisations where you can meet people who can help you raise capital.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #3 ― Factors to consider when choosing business funding and finance

Research your funding options and know what business funding and finance types are available. Many different funding options are available to startups, including venture capital, angel investing, crowdfunding, and more. Research each option to determine which is best suited to your business needs. Each funding option has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these options is the first step in securing the right resources to support your business.

  1. Debt financing: Debt financing is a loan provided by a lender, such as a bank or credit union, that must be repaid over a set period, along with interest. Debt financing is a popular option for startups as it provides a fixed source of capital that can be used to cover a wide range of expenses, including equipment purchases, inventory, and operating costs.
  2. Equity financing: Equity financing involves selling a portion of ownership in your business to investors in exchange for capital. This type of financing is ideal for startups with a well-established business model and a clear growth plan, as investors will want to see that they can make a return on their investment.
  3. Grants: Grants are a form of funding provided by government agencies, foundations, and other organisations to support businesses that meet specific criteria. Grants can provide a valuable source of capital for startups. Still, the application process can be competitive and time-consuming, so it is important to research the different options available to you and choose carefully.
  4. Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding involves raising capital from many people, typically through online platforms. This type of financing is ideal for startups with a unique product or service and a strong online presence, as it allows you to reach a large audience and secure funding from multiple sources.

When choosing the right type of business funding and finance for your startup, there are several important factors to consider, including:

  • The size of your business
  • The stage of development of your business
  • The type of expenses you need to cover
  • The repayment terms and interest rates
  • The equity and ownership structure of your business

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #4 ― Know your financials

It’s crucial to have a good understanding of your business’s financials when seeking funding. This includes having an accurate and up-to-date balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. Investors will want to see that you have a solid grasp of your business’s financials, so ensure you’re prepared.

Financial management skills, cash flow management, and financial literacy are essential skills that every entrepreneur in South Africa needs in 2023.

Mastering Financial Management - The Key to Entrepreneurial Success
Mastering Financial Management ― The Key to Entrepreneurial Success ― JTB Consulting investigates.

Even if you are a budding entrepreneur in South Africa looking to launch your own business in 2023, you must have a strong understanding of financial management skills, cash flow management, and financial literacy.

What is financial literacy?

What is financial management?

And why is this so important, you ask? Let’s dive into the reasons.

  1. First and foremost, financial management skills are essential to keeping your business afloat. They allow you to track expenses, generate revenue, and make informed decisions about investments and growth opportunities. Without these skills, you may find yourself in a precarious financial situation that puts the future of your business at risk.
  2. Cash flow management is equally crucial to your success as an entrepreneur. Without proper cash flow management, you may struggle to pay bills, invest in growth opportunities, or even cover your living expenses. Unfortunately, the lack of cash flow can also prevent you from taking advantage of opportunities, leading to unnecessary stress and financial instability.
  3. But why is financial literacy so important? Financial literacy gives you the knowledge and understanding you need to make informed financial decisions. It helps you understand the ins and outs of financial management, cash flow management, and how to manage money responsibly and effectively. Financial literacy also equips you with the tools to create and stick to a budget, minimise debt, and achieve financial goals. It’s important to note that financial literacy is not just about understanding financial concepts and theories – it’s also about putting these concepts into practice. That’s why it’s so essential for entrepreneurs to take the time to learn and master the skills they need to manage their finances effectively.

So, what evidence supports the importance of financial management skills, cash flow management, and financial literacy for entrepreneurs in South Africa in 2023? Research shows that entrepreneurs with a strong understanding of these concepts are likelier to succeed and grow their businesses. They are also better equipped to weather financial storms and overcome challenges that arise. JTB Consulting has helped hundreds of startups and business owners master this journey of financial management for entrepreneurs.

This article aims to provide entrepreneurs with a comprehensive guide to financial management. The information provided will help entrepreneurs understand their financial situation, create a budget, plan for the future, manage their business finances, understand taxes, and seek professional advice when necessary. The ultimate goal is to equip entrepreneurs with the tools they need to make informed financial decisions and ensure the success of their businesses.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #5 ― Prepare a pitch deck

A pitch deck is a visual presentation that provides an overview of your business and is used to pitch to potential investors. Your pitch deck should include information about your business, the market opportunity, and your financial projections. It should be well-researched and professionally designed to make a strong impression on potential investors.

The pitch is one of the most important parts of securing funding for your small business. Therefore, it’s essential to perfect your pitch, and you must be able to explain your business model (your Idea and How You Will Make Money) simply and easily in 30 seconds or less.

Having prepared hundreds of investor decks, I (Dr Thommie Burger) would strongly recommend tailoring your pitch to suit your audience, whether a potential investor, collaborator or client.

Pitch Perfect! No, not the movie. Pitching to investors and getting funding is crucial for any business owner. It can be daunting, but with the right approach and preparation, you can make a lasting impression and secure the funding you need to grow your business.

  1. Know your audience: Before you even begin to prepare your pitch, it is essential to understand your audience. Investors seek businesses with a clear and well-defined target market, a solid business plan, and a strong management team. Ensure you understand your potential investors’ needs and expectations and tailor your pitch to meet those needs.
  2. Be concise: As the title of this blog post suggests, you only have 10 minutes to pitch. This means that you need to be concise and to the point. Avoid using jargon or industry-specific language that your investors may not understand. Instead, use simple, easy-to-understand language that communicates your business idea.
  3. Highlight your unique value proposition: Investors want to know what differentiates your business. Your unique value proposition sets you apart from your competition and is the key to your business’s success. Include this in your pitch and explain how it will help your business grow and be profitable.
  4. Show traction: Investors want to see your business gaining traction and having a solid customer base. If you have any statistics or numbers demonstrating this, include them in your pitch. This will show investors that your business is already successful and has a strong potential for growth.
  5. Have a clear ask: Before you even begin your pitch, you should have a clear ask in mind. This is the funding you are looking for and how you plan to use it. Be sure to clearly state your ask in your pitch and explain how the funding will help your business grow.
  6. Prepare a killer deck: Your pitch deck is the visual representation of your pitch. Therefore, it should be visually appealing and easy to understand. Ensure your pitch deck includes your business idea, target market, unique value proposition, traction, and ask. It should also include any relevant statistics or numbers that demonstrate the potential of your business. JTB Consulting can help you to create a bankable pitch deck.
  7. Practice, practice, practice: The more you practice your pitch, the more confident you will be when delivering it. Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror or with friends and family. Make sure you time yourself and practice delivering your pitch within the 10-minute timeframe.
  8. Be confident: Confidence is key when pitching to investors. If you believe in your business and your ability to make it a success, your investors will too. Ensure you are well-prepared and have a clear, concise, and compelling pitch.
  9. Follow up: After your pitch, follow up with your investors. Send them a thank-you note and any additional information they may have requested. Keep them updated on any progress your business is making, and be sure to respond to any questions they may have.
  10. Stay positive: Getting funding can be a challenging process, and it is not always guaranteed. Stay positive, and don’t let rejection discourage you. Remember that rejection is not a reflection of the potential of your business but rather a sign that the investor may not be the right fit for your business.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #6 ― Ensure product/market fit

Before seeking funding, it’s important to ensure product/market fit. You shouldn’t seek funding for a concept that hasn’t been tested. Having a well-defined and tested product is crucial when securing funding for your small business. Before seeking funding, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your target market and to have tested your product to ensure that there is a fit.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #7 ― Knowing your customer

To ensure product/market fit, it’s important to deeply understand your customers and the problem you are solving for them. Therefore, you need to be able to quickly answer the question: “What problem are you solving for your customer?”

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #8 ― Build a strong team

Investors are more likely to invest in a business if they have confidence in the team behind it. So build a strong, diverse team of individuals with different skills and experiences to demonstrate to investors that you have the talent and drive to make your business successful.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #9 ― Validate your market

Before seeking funding, it’s important to validate your market. Conduct market research to ensure demand for your product or service and to determine your target audience. This information will help refine your business plan and make a more compelling case for potential investors.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #10 ― Seek mentorship and advice

Seek mentorship and advice from experienced entrepreneurs and investors to help you navigate fundraising. They can offer valuable insights and connect you with potential investors.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #11 ― Have a solid revenue model

Investors want to see that your business has a solid revenue model. Demonstrate how to generate revenue and be transparent about your pricing strategy.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #12 ― Be realistic about your financial projections

When making financial projections, be realistic and base them on market trends and historical data. Investors will not be impressed by unrealistic projections and may question the viability of your business.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #13 ― Be prepared to negotiate

The fundraising process often involves negotiations with potential investors. Be prepared to negotiate terms and make compromises to secure funding. However, it’s important to remember that you should only accept terms in your business’s best interest.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #14 ― Focus on your strengths

When seeking funding, focus on your strengths and what sets your business apart from others in the industry. Emphasise the unique value proposition of your product or service and how it solves a problem for your target market. This will help you to stand out and make a more compelling case to potential investors.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #15 ― Leverage your network

Don’t underestimate the power of your network. Reach out to family, friends, and acquaintances who may be willing to invest in your business or introduce you to potential investors.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #16 ― Be persistent and persistent

Raising capital for a startup can be a long and challenging process, but persistence is key. Don’t get discouraged if you face rejections or setbacks. Instead, use each experience as an opportunity to learn and improve. Keep refining your business plan, building your network, and seeking new opportunities until you secure the needed funding.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #17 ― Stay focused on your long-term vision

Stay focused on your long-term vision and goals. Don’t let the fundraising process distract you from your mission. Instead, keep your eye on the prize and remember why you started your business in the first place.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #18 ― Proper documentation

What Financial, Personal, and Business Documents Do You Need?

The first step in securing funding for your small business has the proper documentation. According to Darlene Menzies, CEO of Finfind, you will need the following financial documents:

  1. Basic business plan
  2. Cash flow projections
  3. Outstanding debtors
  4. Up-to-date management accounts (income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement)
  5. Latest annual financial statements
  6. Latest VAT statement
  7. Last three/six months’ bank statements
  8. Tax clearance certificate

In addition to financial documents, you’ll also need personal documents, such as ID and marriage certificates for business owners, and business documents, such as company registration documents, office lease or mortgage agreements, shareholder agreements, share register, proof of business address, relevant business licenses, and accreditations.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #19 ― Research and plan for investors

To secure funding for your small business, you’ll also need to research and plan for investors. You need to know the fundraising ideas available to you. Startup Funding South Africa and Fundraising South Africa are the main topics most clients wish to discuss with JTB Consulting’s team.

Investors usually have preferences related to their expertise and experience in a particular industry. Therefore, it is important to identify the investor’s flavour and ensure your business falls within their focus area.

Additionally, investors want to see a solid business plan that includes monetisation and scalability and a viable exit strategy. It’s also important to be transparent about your risks and to have a frank discussion with the lender about any relevant past issues, including a bad credit record.

There are many occasions when businesses require funding, especially startups, who will have to identify suitable Startup Business Funding options available to them. 

Small business funding options range from Government Startup Funding to Seed Funding. A startup funding option everyone is aware of is Friends, Families, and Fools (I will discuss this below). In principle, there are two main startup funding types: Self-funded and funded by third parties such as investors or banks. However, this view falls short of capturing the many nuances in how startups get funding.

All the entrepreneurs and startups I meet every week have some variation of the same question:

  • What business funding in South Africa can I access?
  • How do I get funding to start a business in South Africa?
  • What is startup funding?
  • How do I get funding for my startup?
  • How are most startups funded?

Often, leaders must become creative to organise the capital they need to grow their businesses. Look at this article that discusses traditional funding but goes beyond traditional financing sources and will explain ten potential small business funding options for businesses and startups in South Africa.

Fundraising and Startup Capital Tip #20 ― Research the right funding product as your startup capital

The next step in securing funding for your small business is to research the right funding product. Entrepreneurs must do their homework for the VC funds investing in their area to determine if their business aligns with the types of businesses and sectors the VCs are considering. Not all funders invest in all industries.

In conclusion, securing funding for your small business requires careful preparation and a clear understanding of the funding landscape. From having the right documentation to researching investors and funding products to perfecting your pitch, there are many factors to consider. By following the advice of experts, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of securing the funding they need to grow their businesses.

Established in 2006, we have successfully written hundreds of bankable and world-class Business Plans for clients across 25 countries. As South Africa’s Leading Business Plan Company, we are confident that we would be able to assist you too. Kindly note that we also offer “Investor Pitch Decks”, “Excel-based Financial Models”, and “Proposal/Tender Writing Services” in addition to our Custom Business Plan Writing Service. Please visit our Services page for more information.

We look forward to being of service to you. Please feel free to contact our Founder, Dr Thommie Burger, on +27 79 300 8984 should you have any questions. He is also available via email and LinkedIn.

JTB – Your Business Planning Partner.

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